Just call it "ambiguity".
There is not one person involved in the NHL games that knows for certain what goalie
interference actually is.
Not executives. Not managers. Not goaltenders. Not coaches. Not refs. Not fans. Not players.
And certainly not broadcasters.
My wish is for them to refine it and then we live with that, for good or bad. At least then it would be outlined, defined - and simple. Right now it's a meandering, lawyer-speak 1,200 or so words that has more gray area than geriatric Rapunzel.
Here's how I, a former netminder, would write it up:
69(1) Any contact with the goaltender in the crease, whether intentional or not, in which the opposing player was not pushed, shoved or fouled by a defending player will deem the goal to be disallowed. Video review of their call will be afforded to the officials via a monitor at the timekeeper box.
69(2) If a goal is scored while the goaltender is contacted while outside of the crease it will be at the sole discretion of the four officials on the ice to make the call as to whether it was interference or merely a positioning joist between the goaltender and the opposing forward, and the officials will be afforded a video review of their decision via a monitor at the timekeeper box.
There you go. A succinct 121 words. Done.
A Need to Eradicate Shot Blocking
It's become such a scourge.
I don't know what to do about shot blocking. These brainwashed players today stand in front of shots going 50-100 mph like those poor misguided soldiers did on 17th and 18th century battlefields; standing bravely in a line taking rounds from muskets 30 or 40 yards away.
During games it seems that "Left game after blocking a shot" is the most commonly typed phrase by scribes on Twitter.
It's muddied the game and made it ugly.
I believe the only way to combat shot blocking is to allow picks.
Allowing players on offense to set picks would open shot lanes and breed scoring opportunities.
Football allows blocking. Basketball allows picks. Even soccer affords some leeway, especially on corner kicks.
If they don't allow attacking players to open up space and shot lanes for themselves then shot blocking will continue to be the dumb, skill-less counter to flow, excitement and goal scoring.
Ovechkin at 500
Lots of people seem eager to anoint Alexander Ovechkin as "the greatest goal scorer ever". I'm not one of them.
Oh he's phenomenal, but Wayne Gretzky was so much more creative.
The Great 8 can hammer the pill home and power his way up ice, but The Great One was so cunning and vulpine. He was deadly with his slap shot, elusive with a myriad of dekes, and badass with his backhand.
Both players had that next-level drive to score goals, but Gretzky wins on versatility.
Pucks to the Head
Have you noticed the frequency of goalies getting hit in the mask with shots has gone up exponentially this season?
Wanna know why?
It's largely due to a fairly new net-guarding tactic called the 'Post Lean". This is when the goalie drops onto his knee(s) and leans his body against the goalpost to seals off the short side. They drop into this fairly early when the shooter is outside of the face-off circle dot, and the only hole that is visually apparent to the guy with the puck is short side high - right beside the goalies head. When they go for that spot goalies are taking rubber in the melon at an increased rate. Thank heavens (or chemists) for kevlar, composites and foam!
Power Play Copycats
It's amazing just how difficult it is for power plays to get ahead of penalty killing in the game right now. Most of the goals are scored as a result of scrambles created from set plays and the odd ad-lib.
Coaches work their eyes to exhaustion prepping the PP for competition but so too do the penalty kill coaches on the other side. It's like a video recon war. Instead of 'dark opps' it's MacPro blue light opps. And it seems that almost all power plays are now run off of a 1-3-1 formation.
I long for more creativity, more movement and picks, something that will give the PK a 'Whoa, how do stop that?!' reaction. And then of course the 29 other teams will adopt that. It's the Circle of Special Teams life.
Hey, maybe it's apropos that the powerplays are set up in the form of a cross (1-3-1) because most PP goals are created when a player resorts to just throwing a prayer toward the net.
Lots has been written about the farcical, bungled and ultimately exiled case of John Scott's All-Star Game vote. It's gonna be interesting to see the fallout from this from the NHLPA perspective. All the league had to do was own it, have some fun with it, and then make sure it could never happen again. Instead, it seems like they strong-armed the situation.
I doubt this would ever happen but what the true "stars" of the league should do at All-Star Weekend in Nashville is conduct some kind of protest in the name of Scott, a player whose existence in the NHL has been solely to protect teammates like them - a thankless job that is all but extinct and has had devastating long term effects on some of those who made it their vocation.
So far 2016 has been a skid mark.
The once league leading Stars are 1-4-2 since the New Year's Eve spanking of the Predators, and that lone victory was via the shootout.
What's the problem been? Well on the road it's been their leaky defense. The Stars have allowed 29 goals over their past half dozen games away from AAC. That's an average of 4.83 a game. That's a greased slide to the loss column, even for the NHL's top offense, which is an offense that has become less than exotic in the new year.
If you're looking for some solace (which I'm sure you are) the Cup champion Blackhawks went through a severely suboptimal stretch last season when they started 2015 with only 4 regulation wins in the first 14 games followed by just 2 regulation victories in the next 10.
It happens. It's tough to win. It's a long season.
We (TV) Are Very Important
It's amazing how reliant on local TV feeds the NHL is.
Coach Challenges for offside are pretty much 100% beholden to our TV trucks.
Goalie Interference is heavily adjudicated via our replays.
The Toronto-based NHL Situation Room needs us, badly, on a nightly basis for all the various video reviews.
The Department of Player Safety has us to thank for views they use for doling out supplemental discipline.
The NHL Network just flat out takes our broadcasts and runs them as their programming.
Coaching staffs siphon our feeds into their elaborate computer systems to comb through for prescouts, prep, and post game analysis. (As the saying goes, "Statistics accuse, analytics indict, video convicts.")
Yeah, we're kind of a big deal.
And our Stars broadcasts have some of the most talented people in the business in the truck (and at home games, behind the cameras and on audio too). FSSW is an incredible partner and thanks to their investment we have a bigger broadcast than many/most national shows that roll into Big D.
Further to that, I'll share this nice tweet I saved:
As Dave and I kid our production crew with incessantly, "Dallas Stars TV 2015-16: Regional Production. National Talent".